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January 19, 1996

Paul Coffey


Q. Paul, there is a lot of people in Canada very interested with this new puck that is going to be on the ice tomorrow night. Have you seen it?

PAUL COFFEY: We haven't seen it yet, but Brian Burke was telling us this morning can did a lot of animation with it. It is going to be pretty exciting.

Q. Were there any players concerned perhaps that the puck might be different in any way?

PAUL COFFEY: He said it will be fine. I don't anticipate it being that much different from what it was.

Q. I want to ask you about Bobby Orr. He is around here. You and Ray are the modern day offensive, defensive, breaking all the records. I heard you talk about this before. I mean, what does Bobby Orr mean to you?

PAUL COFFEY: This is exciting. This is his town, this is his area right here. I think any time you can still associate Bobby Orr with the game of hockey, it is great. The stuff I do on the ice and Leetch and Ray do it all because of a guy like Bobby who paved the way for us. It is exciting to have him around.


PAUL COFFEY: We all knew he was going to come back and play well. I didn't think anybody knew he would be playing as well and as consistently healthy as he has been. He is a great athlete. He knew he had to come back, and I don't know if proving something is the right way because he didn't have to prove anything to anybody. He had to prove to him that he is still healthy and can still compete at a high level. It is amazing what he is doing.

Q. What is the profile of the league now?

PAUL COFFEY: I think it has been good. I think you know, unlike baseball, I still think they are feeling a lot of the stuff -- hockey has market itself great. I think the players have handled themselves professionally. I think the owners have done a good job. I really don't feel like it has really missed a stride.

Q. Are you guys happy now in the -- walking into that collective bargaining for the next five --

PAUL COFFEY: As players we basically stay out of most of that stuff. We play hockey. We have hired great people to take care of that stuff. I think any time you can see more players getting out in the open in a public professional sport, I think everybody is happy. That shows with the money we are making.

Q. You guys are becoming stars like in the other sports nationwide now. How are you handling that now?

PAUL COFFEY: I don't think it is so much of adjustment at all. I think it is great. As I said, it shows in everything. It shows in the attendance; TV revenues; shows in the money that the players are making. It is just -- everybody is handling it.

Q. This weekend is supposed to sort of showcase the league in the best light but we have people talking about Wayne and what he has been saying. What is your view having played with him in the past on winning teams and how do you see his view of that? Should he have kept quiet?

PAUL COFFEY: I think he'd probably admit himself that his timing was a little bit wrong. I read something in the paper that it was starting to affect his team a little bit. He didn't want to come in here at the All-Star game and be any distraction and take anything away from the game. I think he has handled that properly. As to the way he is playing, I don't think he is missing a stride. He is playing great hockey this year. I think one way or the other, the thing will get settled.

Q. The game is being marketed well in the United States now. It certainly is growing here now. What about the collapse of Canadian franchises, Winnipeg moving, Quebec moving, Edmonton now in trouble. How do you feel about that?

PAUL COFFEY: It is unfortunate. I played in Edmonton for seven years. I really enjoyed it out there. It is tough the way the game is going right now from owners point of view, it is so tough to compete that -- I don't know if the whole league should suffer just because small market teams are suffering. I don't know what the answer is to be perfectly honest with you. Edmonton, played there for seven years, sold out seven years straight. It was a great hockey town. Now right now they have been struggling. I don't know what the answer is.


PAUL COFFEY: That is a Catch-22 thing. I am a Canadian. I am a small time guy. You'd like to have those teams remain in the League, but on the other hand, you don't -- like you said, it shouldn't hurt progress of the whole League. It is tough for the small market teams.

Q. Do you think it is a good thing for the League to generating more teams in the American markets?

PAUL COFFEY: I think it is sad that Canadian cities are losing their teams. I think that is not right. But I think hockey has to grow all the time and that is why teams move to the states, but I still like to see some Canadian cities.

Q. Do you feel the game is become more American; some of the rule changes; higher scoring, things like that?

PAUL COFFEY: I think so. Everybody wants to move the big market and where hockey business is, it is a big business right now.

Q. What do you think of the Wayne Gretzky situation? Are you happy that he is going to be able to determine where he plays?

PAUL COFFEY: I think so. I think he has a good situation. He can choose where he wants to go, and Gretzky has done so much great things about hockey, so I really think he deserves the best options.

Q. Where do you think he is going to go? What do you hear?

PAUL COFFEY: I have no idea.

Q. Not the Jets?


Q. There have been rumors recently involving your name on Long Island and on other spots. Is that bothersome to you or can you ignore that?

PAUL COFFEY: Well, those are things that you can't control, and of course, you know, it is not very nice if there is all the time rumors, but win, but it's -- when Gretzky got traded, I think everybody (inaudible)-- that is part of business right now.

Q. What are your thoughts on places like Winnipeg, Hartford, Edmonton is in trouble now. These small places where there is a core of hockey people who love the game but not enough. What are your thoughts on that?

PAUL COFFEY: Like I said, hockey is big business right now and that is why those cities lose the franchises. Of course it is sad, but you know, what did we do about it. We understand if business is not good so where -- we have to go somewhere where business is good. That is pretty simple. But you know, like rumors, it is nothing they can do about it. So...

End of FastScripts....

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